A STONE-BASED company which has handed out millions of pounds to com- munities is calling it a day after increases in recycling and landfill tax squeezed its funding sources.
Staffordshire Environmental Fund (SEF) has announced it will begin wind- ing down and stop awarding grants by the end of this year.
The company, based at Whitebridge Lane, has managed several grants schemes in the past 15 years, mainly awarding grants under the Landfill Com- munities Fund.
This scheme is funded by landfill site operators making contributions with some of the Landfill Tax they collect on the waste put into their sites.
Around £1 million in grants has been awarded to community projects and
organisations by SEF each year. The latest recipients include Fulford Village Hall, awarded £25,000 and Little Stoke Cricket Club, which will receive £29,845.
But this week it was announced that SEF would wind up its affairs by the end of 2013.
Chief executive John Dutton said: “The tax on waste put into landfill sites increases year on year - it is now £64 per tonne - and in addition to this disincen- tive to landfill the increased recycling required by EU and UK targets means less funding is becoming available to SEF.
“Income under the Landfill Communi- ties Fund will continue to reduce espe- cially as the interest received on SEF’s reserves has also reduced drastically at the same time.”
SEF will stop awarding grants by the
end of November.
In the meantime it will only consider
grant applications for projects which can be completed and grants fully claimed by the end of June 2013.
From January 1 2013 organisations applying for funding should go through Biffa Award, a similar organisation to SEF.
SEF believes it will have awarded around £17 million by the end of this year. It has previously handled grant schemes for the Regional Government Office, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, the Regional Development Agency, Stafford- shire County Council and Stafford Bor- ough Council.
SEF Chairman David Heywood said: “It is sad to have to plan the company’s end, but everyone associated with it can be proud of what has been achieved.